Philadelphians and out-of-towners alike can find refuge from the city by way of the Forbidden Drive, a scenic expanse that extends from Chestnut Hill to Manayunk, yet feels miles away from urban life. As part of the Wissahickon Valley Park?which covers 1,800 acres?the wooded trail shelters joggers, cyclists, hikers, and even those on horseback as they explore the area's natural flora and fauna. A frequent spot for organized races, the trail is also marked by historic and geological sites.
The Friends of Wissahickson, or FOW, is a non-profit organization that started in 1924. With over 1,600 members, they work in conjunction with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to restore historical structures, eliminate invasive plants, monitor watershed management, and restore trails with the Sustainable Trails Initiative.
The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes & 5K empowers runners and walkers to contribute to the battle against Type 1 diabetes one stride at a time. Racers dash through a marked 5K track, testing their endurance and pursuing a personal best—whether by shaving off a few seconds, finishing a race for the first time, or crossing the line before their shadow does. Attendees can also demonstrate support by enrolling their dogs, who can also take part in the race. Whether running or walking, all participants work toward the same goal: raising funds and awareness for JDRF’s mission to contribute to treatments, and eventually a cure, for Type 1 diabetes.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
Visitors could explore Tyler Arboretum for hours and still not see everything it has to offer. For one thing, it's huge?the arboretum covers 650 acres of woodlands and gardens crisscrossed with 17 miles of hiking trails. For another, it's constantly hosting educational programs and special events. And then there's the seasonal variation: the exhibits here?not to mention the flora and fauna?change by the month, week, and day.
Some of the arboretum's most colorful exhibits include a small pond, a 1,400-square-foot butterfly house, and nine interactive tree houses (open April?November) scattered across the property. Tyler Arboretum is open year-round, but some of the best times to visit are in spring and summer, when flowers are in bloom and there are no snowmen around demanding top hats and scarves.
Iron Orchid Photography specializes in on-location portraits of kids, weddings, and families. Elegant moments come to life in snapshots set against backgrounds filled with nature and sunlight, capturing the essences and relationships of individuals or families. Every photography package—be it for a wedding, event, or portrait shoot—includes retouching and an online gallery. Ongoing updates and examples of the studio's work can be found on their blog.
The Fulper Family Farmstead's journey started in 1909 when Mary Fulper brought one cow with her to a patch of land in New Jersey and started growing vegetables with her family. Over time, her family grew and so did their business. Throughout the next century, they developed their farm, growing tomatoes for Campbell's Soup, building a state-of-the-art milking parlor for their 80 cows, and installing solar energy and soil conservation methods.
Today, you can visit the farm that is still thriving under the gentle guidance of the fifth generation of Fulpers. Explore the farm facilities to see the milking parlor and newborn calf barn up close, or learn about sustainable farming from the compost barn and solar energy system. Visitors can even follow in the farmers' footsteps by making their own butter, ice cream, or milk paint. Farm activities also get kids out in nature with hayrides, an obstacle course, and scavenger hunts.